Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Ethics as ideological erasure

In a recent piece co-authored with an advisee, we decided to not present effectiveness data in critiquing an intervention. The choice to not present the effectiveness data was a strategic choice situated in the critical impetus of CCA, based on the argument that the mainstream articulations of campaigns narrowly focus on effectiveness without attending to the dimensions of power, co-optation, and oppression that are often played out by the very same campaigns. Therefore, in our piece, we issued a call for the foregrounding of alternative criteria that question the very paradigm of effectiveness, the ways in which it is measured and reported etc. In one of our reviewers, a reviewer insisted that this was an unethical choice because the manuscript did not present the evidence that was available. What intrigues me about this argument made by the reviewer is how situated amidst ideology this specific evaluation of ethics is. Why is it that discussions of oppressive ideologies perpetrated by campaigns in not required by mainstream capaign theorists by the same token? Is that not an unethical choice? Why is it that the silencing of alternative articulations by name calling them as unethical is not thought of an unethical choice? Why is it that the holier than thou calls for ethics are so often situated amidst the agendas, goals, and privileges of the Euro-centric knowledge producing structure?

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